Vince Staples isn't afraid to take shots at the people who are signing his check.
Vince Staples is one of many rappers who are performing at one of South By Southwest’s many stages, but he is probably one of the few that will badmouth the brand that’s paying him to perform. Staples work is characterized by blunt truths about, well, everything, so it’s no surprise he didn’t hold back during his performance at the Spotify House yesterday.
He first attacked SXSW’s skewed racial dynamic, saying, “I know you’re all at SXSW like, ‘Let’s watch the black people rap.” Like many festivals, the event is primarily attended by white people, but many of the performers are black. Still, people cheered at Staples reality check, and he took that opportunity to poke fun at the short sets everyone plays during the festival. “It’s almost like a real show,” he sneered.
However, the California emcee’s most critical words came at the expense of the stage’s sponsor Spotify. “Shout out to Spotify,” Vince Staples wryly stated, “thank you for giving me this check to make up for what you’ve done to me and all my musical friends.” Staples got paid for the show, but considers it a paltry sum compared to the fractions of a penny he gets paid for each time one of his songs is streamed. He encouraged the show’s attendees to “listen to your favorite album 1000, 2000 times so everybody can get an album sale.”
This episode of keeping it real hasn’t gone wrong yet, but we’ll see if Spotify can take the heat. If you happen to be at SXSW, be sure to check out everywhere HNHH will be throughout the festival.